What's up with Trevor Hoffman?

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Trevor Hoffman 2.jpgAs I mentioned in the recaps this morning, Trevor Hoffman got creamed last night. He came in to preserve a 3-2 lead in the ninth against the Pirates, but gave up a leadoff homer to Ronny Cedeno which tied the game. He then loaded the bases
and gave up a grand slam to Ryan Doumit. Both homers were hit really hard.

Hoffman has
now blown three saves, has given up five homers in eight innings after allowing only two in 54
innings last season. I mentioned his reluctance to use his changeup this morning, but as Tom Haudricort notes, that has an awful lot to do with not getting his fastball over the plate early in the count to get ahead (and then having to throw his fastball over the plate late in the count, which looks like batting practice).

Hoffman is a legend and everything so it’s not like he’s going to suddenly
lose his job, but Ken Macha has to be concerned. If the struggles continue, he’s going to have to look for another closer. Where to go if Hoffman continues to not get the job done?  LaTroy Hawkins is a possibility, but it’s not like he’s pitching very well this year himself (8.64 ERA). Maybe the best bet would be Carlos Villanueva, who has struck out 14 guys in 11 innings, only allowing 5 hits.

Hopefully it won’t come to that, though, and here’s hoping Hoffman can turn it around.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.